Feb 1, 2011
It is unfortunate that the decision to proceed with clear cutting, along with the remarks made by Mr. Sachs in the media, provoked a response by Algonquins and others. Now that the situation is even more entrenched than before, we suggest that it is important to realize that greater sensitivity by Urbandale to the widespread community interest in this area is key to effective communication. This includes greater sensitivity to the legitimate concerns of both native and non-native communities.
The Ottawa Citizen reported that Mr. Sachs wants to know why the Algonquin consider this land to be Sacred. Prior to commenting on aboriginal religious beliefs in the media, don’t you think it would be more productive for him to first seek to understand those beliefs?
We believe that if Mr. Sachs truly wants an answer to this question he may wish to meet with the person who declared that the land is Sacred to all indigenous people of the Ottawa River watershed. In his message to Ottawa City Council, Grandfather William Commanda, the principal Algonquin spiritual Elder of both Ontario and Quebec and beyond, Ancestral Carrier of the three Sacred Wampum Belts that pre-date the arrival of Europeans to this area, clearly sets out that the South March Highlands is a place of Manitou (Spirit).
We suggest that it would be very productive, and a gesture of significant goodwill, for Mr. Sachs to meet with Grandfather Commanda. We would be willing to facilitate such a meeting should you wish to pursue one.
In the meantime, we strongly urge that KNL ceases all tree clearing in the South March Highlands to improve the willingness of everyone to communicate instead of confronting one another. We do not subscribe to the belief that it is possible to operate heavy equipment without disturbing underlying cultural resources, nor do we condone the mass killing of wildlife that winter time tree clearing inevitably causes.
By stopping tree clearing in favour of an independent archaeological review to be done on undisturbed land, you can enable us to work with you in asking the NCC to conduct such a review at no cost to KNL. We already have a positive working relationship with the NCC and believe that a joint application will be successful because of the fact that it will come from both sides in this entrenched situation.
It is not too late to do the right thing and we would like to emphasize that our original letter is still on the table.
South March Highlands – Carp River Conservation Inc.